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Russia Expels Dozens Of European Diplomats In Reciprocal Move.

The headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow (file photo)

The headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow (file photo)

Russia has announced the expulsion of dozens of European diplomats in a "retaliatory" move for similar actions taken across the continent as part of a coordinated campaign over Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on May 18 that it had informed France, Spain, and Italy that members of their diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared personae non grata. It said the French ambassador was told that 34 employees of French "diplomatic institutions in Russia" must leave the country within two weeks, while Rome was informed that 24 Italian diplomats also were being expelled for similar reasons and were ordered out of the country within eight days.
Another 27 diplomats from Spain were also told they must leave Russia within seven days.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the decision a "hostile act" that he said "absolutely must not lead to an interruption of diplomatic channels because it is through those channels that, if we succeed, peace will be achieved and that is certainly what we want." France, which in April kicked out 35 Russians with diplomatic status, condemned the May 18 move by Moscow. At the same time, Rome informed Moscow that 30 Russian diplomats had been told to leave the country "for national security reasons." In all, European countries have expelled more than 300 Russian diplomatic staff since Moscow launched its war against Ukraine on February 24.


With reporting by RIA Novosti

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